MEG Energy Corporation
Christina Lake Regional Project
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Certified Gold through 2022
Wildlife Sighting Card Program
MEG Energy Corporation Christina Lake Regional Project (CLRP) is a multi-phased oil development project on about 77 square miles and is located 93 miles south of Fort McMurray in northeast Alberta, Canada. The historical habitat is classified as Forest - Dillon River Conservation Area Caribou Restoration. Through MEG's Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approval it is required to provide the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) with a Caribou Monitoring and Mitigation Plan (CMMP). In the plan, MEG committed to restoring caribou habitat in and around their lease boundaries. The project conservation objective is to reduce the effects of existing industrial disturbance on caribou habitat through access controls and establishing vegetation on previously disturbed sites. The conservation education objective is to use citizen science to collect meaningful wildlife monitoring data and increase wildlife awareness among MEG employees and contractors working at the CLRP.
Practices and Impacts
- Project team is a member of the Regional Industry Caribou Collaboration group working to improve habitat for caribou. MEG has been working since 2013 to restore the historical seismic lines voluntarily to reduce fragmentation of the forest and impede wolf sight lines and travel corridors to reduce opportunities for preying on caribou.
- Monitoring has indicated that there are early signs of success as there have been an increase in caribou sightings within the restoration treatment areas as well as throughout the lease area under the management of MEG Energy.
- MEG uses baseline data collected through imagery drawn from LidAR to estimate vegetation cover, and predator data through bear and wolf collar data.
- Vegetation monitoring through plot sampling is conducted per the Provincial Restoration and Establishment Framework for Legacy Seismic Lines in Alberta.
- Wildlife monitoring is conducted through camera traps. Monitoring is based on a before-after-control-impact (BACI) design, linear features are monitored using remote cameras before and after implementation of habitat treatments, along with control sites. The camera traps in the restoration areas show an increase in the volume of caribou presence.
- MEG employees and contractors are informed during orientation about MEG’s Wildlife Sighting Card Program, which is implemented throughout the CLRP lease area. Cards and submission boxes are available at every CLRP building. The cards solicit information on the date, location and habitat of the sighting; observer name, affiliation, and activity (e.g., walking, driving) at the time of the observation; and the species, number of individuals, and activity observed.
- Wildlife awareness posters posted in common areas and entrances to buildings at the CLRP remind workers of wildlife-related best practices in general and the card program. Additional posters display wildlife sightings submitted through the program. Participation is further encouraged through monthly prize draws from the submitted cards.
- Data from the sighting cards submitted and sightings submitted via the MEG Wildlife Sighting App are recorded and conglomerated into a map that's displayed throughout the company.
- A citizen science project was implemented through developing a wildlife sighting card reporting system for staff and visitors. Participants can use a hard copy or an app for their smart phone to report their wildlife observations. The data is then compiled at the end of each year and a poster is made to show participants their results.
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